Chicago is riddled with tragedy. One weekend might be plagued with shootings, and the next one, in drowning incidents. This past weekend, four children in three different suburbs near Chicago, died from drowning accidents. The children were all under nine years old.
Paulino F. Delle Grazie, a four-year-old boy, was in a pool at the Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles, Illinois with his family last Saturday afternoon. St. Charles investigators are questioning lifeguards and country club management because it has not been confirmed whether lifeguards were on duty at the time of the drowning. An autopsy had been scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Forty-five miles south, Liam Vaughn, a three-year-old boy from Rockford, Illinois, was visiting a relative in the city of Morris on Sunday. The house did have an above ground pool in the backyard that the family used. Vaughn wore inflatable floaties for most of the time he was in the pool, but the boy took them off when he went to eat. Vaughn returned to the pool disregarding that he needed to retrieve the floaties. At that same moment, his mother left to check on the other children inside of the house and returned outside moments later. Her and her husband noticed the toddler was nowhere to be found in the backyard until they saw him motionless in the pool. Liam Vaughn was pronounced dead from the drowning at 4:11 p.m. at the emergency room at Morris Hospital.
Thirty miles east of Chicago, two brothers from Gary, Indiana also died from a drowning accident. Terrion Smith, 8, and his brother Donel, 9, both suffered from drowning in a pit filled with water in Hobart, Indiana. Saturday night the two boys and their friends explored “The Pit,” as locals call it, and encouraged the boys to jump in the hole. Knowing the boys could not swim, they did not anticipate the depth of the pit, and the brothers began to struggle. Their friends called for help but could not get back in time to save the boys. Terrion Smith was pronounced dead at 8:49 p.m. Soon after, his brother Donel was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
Other than the recent accidental drowning of four children in Chicago’s suburbs, swimmers need to be aware of another factor that is occurring in other cities all over the country. Summer is the perfect season for boating and swimming in lakes. However, many people are unaware of how dangerous it can be swimming alongside boat-populated areas. Electric shock drowning, or ESD, is a rising threat to anyone that loves swimming in fresh water areas. When electricity is plugged in from a dock or boat into the shore power, it can produce an invisible electric current. If a human body meets with this current, it can lead to instant electrocution. A Chicago couple lost their eight-year-old son a decade ago due to ESD and is currently spreading awareness of the risk of this invisible electric current.
As three families mourn the deaths of four children near Chicago’s suburbs due to drowning accidents, Americans across the nation must be aware of the potential danger of water. One split second can change a family’s life forever, but can also prevent the occurrence of drowning accidents.
By Tricia Manalansan